Best Doctor of Business Administration Degrees

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Usually serving aspiring top executives, doctor of business administration (DBA) programs offer core courses and specializations in various fields. DBA programs cultivate high-level research, analysis, decision-making, and problem-solving skills that can serve graduates well in public service administration or business executive roles.

DBA graduates often qualify for management occupations that pay an annual median salary of $105,660, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Management positions with especially promising job growth projections include financial manager, social and community service manager, and medical and health services manager.

Applicants to doctor of business administration programs typically need a 3.0 minimum GPA and a related master’s degree. However, some programs admit bachelor’s degree-holders with relevant professional experience. Read further for additional information on DBA requirements, benefits, careers, and scholarships.

FAQ


  • What does a doctor of business administration do?

    DBA graduates often become leaders in industry or the public sector. Possible careers include financial analyst, consultant, manager, or director.


  • What is the difference between a Ph.D. and a DBA?

    A Ph.D. usually serves aspiring academics and researchers, while DBA programs offer more preparation for management and administration careers.


  • Can I get a DBA without a master of business administration?

    Some DBA programs accept applicants with bachelor’s or master’s degrees in non-business fields, but these learners may need to complete foundational coursework.


  • How many years does it take to get a DBA?

    DBA programs usually require 60 credits and take 3-5 years to finish. Enrollees with transferable master’s coursework may finish sooner. Programs requiring a thesis may take longer.


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Best Doctor of Business Administration Degrees 2021

  • DePaul University
    Location

    Chicago, IL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    DePaul University served 70 students during its first year of operation in 1898. Today, almost 23,000 students from 114 countries and all 50 states enroll at the university. DePaul comprises 10 schools and colleges and offers more than 300 bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs.

    Students can pursue a doctor of business administration degree at DePaul's Kellstadt Graduate School of Business. The program requires 72 quarter credits (48 semester credits) and uses a cohort model. Students enroll in seven research-focused classes and seven business-focused courses to develop their applied research skills and build their business acumen. The curriculum includes coursework in leading organizational development and change, business ethics and social responsibility, and behavioral decision theory.

    The program does not require applicants to submit GMAT or GRE scores. However, prospective students must hold an MBA or a master's from an accredited institution.

    DePaul is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission.

  • Florida Institute of Technology
    Location

    Melbourne, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Florida Tech started out in 1958 as the Brevard Engineering College. The college currently consists of five colleges and enrolls more than 6,200 undergraduate and graduate students.

    Students can pursue a doctor of business administration degree from Florida Tech's Nathan M. Bisk College of Business. The program takes three years to complete. The 42-credit curriculum includes coursework in innovation and entrepreneurship; advanced study of human resources in modern business enterprises; and organizational behavior, ethics, and leadership in business management.

    All students must pass a comprehensive exam at the end of the second fall semester before they begin dissertation work. Applicants must hold an MBA or a master's in a related field with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.2. The program accepts cohorts of 12 students at a time.

    Florida Tech is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  • Florida International University
    Location

    Miami, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    FIU serves approximately 58,000 students through over 200 programs. Students can pursue a doctor of business administration degree at FIU. The program requires 72 credits and takes three years to complete. The curriculum includes courses in the philosophy and process of applied business research, financial issues in the global environment, marketing and behavioral theory, and analysis of corporate policy. Applicants must hold an MBA or a master's degree from an accredited institution and have at least 10 years of work experience, preferably at the managerial level.

    FIU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. FIU's Alvah H. Chapman, Jr. Graduate School of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

  • Gardner-Webb University
    Location

    Boiling Springs, NC

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Gardner-Webb serves close to 3,600 students and offers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs across six schools and colleges.

    The university's doctor of business administration program requires 60 credits: 24 credits each of foundational and concentration coursework and 12 dissertation credits. Students choose from concentrations in accounting, finance, international business, management, and marketing. The curriculum includes courses in advanced applied business statistics, foundations for ethical reasoning, management strategy and planning, and concentration-specific best practices in teaching and consulting.

    Gardner-Webb is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Gardner-Webb's Godbold School of Business is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

  • Georgia State University
    Location

    Atlanta, GA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Founded in 1913, Georgia State is now the Peach State's largest institution of higher education. The university serves over 53,000 students through more than 250 programs.

    Students can pursue a doctor of business administration degree at Georgia State's J. Mack Robinson College of Business. The program uses a cohort model of education and takes three years to complete. Designed for senior-level executives, the program accepts students with a relevant master's degree from an accredited institution and at least 10 years of professional experience.

    The curriculum includes coursework in the philosophy and practice of engaged scholarship, global economic systems and issues, evidence-based management, and emerging markets and global models for business. Students complete coursework through 24 Thursday-Saturday on-campus residencies.

    Georgia State is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

  • Golden Gate University-San Francisco
    Location

    San Francisco, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    GGU traces its roots back to a San Francisco YMCA night school that began in 1881. After the establishment of a law school in 1901, the night school officially became a college and finally a university in 1972. GGU currently serves over 2,500 undergraduate and graduate students.

    GGU's doctor of business administration degree requires 60 credits: 12 credits of foundational coursework, 28 credits in core business subjects, 12 credits of dissertation research, and eight credits of electives. After completing foundational coursework, students must take and pass a qualifying exam before proceeding with the program. Core courses include economic theory and policy, operations and technology systems, strategy and international business, and corporate finance. Program applicants must submit GMAT or GRE scores.

    GGU is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission.

  • International Technological University
    Location

    San Jose, CA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Established in 1994, ITU offers undergraduate and graduate degrees across six academic disciplines. ITU's doctor of business administration degree takes three years to complete. The 48-credit program offers three culminating experience options: a dissertation, an applied innovation project, or a series of publishable papers. The curriculum includes coursework in behavioral marketing, digitization, and decision-making; financial engineering and innovation; data analytics; and strategy for disruptive innovation.

    All students must take an inbound examination during their first trimester in the program. Learners who do not achieve a passing mark (50%) must submit GMAT or GRE scores within three terms.

    ITU is regionally accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission. ITU's business programs earned accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs.

  • Jacksonville University
    Location

    Jacksonville, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Chartered in 1934, JU comprises four colleges and three specialized institutes in marine science research, healthcare, and public policy. Approximately 4,200 undergraduate and graduate students currently attend JU.

    JU offers a 63-credit doctor of business administration degree that takes three years to complete. Required coursework covers business analytics and technological tools; global business in the transnational marketplace; contemporary ethics and negotiations; and corporate mergers, acquisitions, and valuations. Students must pass a comprehensive exam after completing all coursework requirements before beginning dissertation research.

    Applicants do not need to submit GMAT or GRE scores. However, prospective students without an MBA or a master's degree may include test scores to bolster their application. The program accepts a new cohort starting each fall semester.

    JU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The university's Davis College of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

  • Louisiana Tech University
    Location

    Ruston, LA

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    In 1894, Louisiana Tech opened its doors as the Industrial Institute and College of Louisiana. Today, the university serves close to 12,000 students pursuing bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs across five academic colleges.

    Louisiana Tech offers a doctor of business administration program that requires 78 quarter credits (52 semester credits). Students can choose from five concentrations: accounting, computer information systems, finance, management, and marketing. The program uses a cohort model, with each cohort consisting of only 3-4 students. All students must maintain a 3.0 GPA to graduate.

    Louisiana Tech is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. The university's College of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.

  • Nova Southeastern University
    Location

    Fort Lauderdale, FL

    Tuition

    $$$$$

    Founded in 1964, NSU now serves approximately 20,000 learners through 18 schools and colleges. Students can pursue a doctor of business administration degree through NSU's H. Wayne Huizenga College of Business and Entrepreneurship. The program's curriculum requires 60 credits, including an 18-credit dissertation. One of the best doctor of business administration programs, the degree offers eight specializations, including human resource management, health services, international management, and information systems.

    In each specialization, required courses include computer-mediated research methods, business and public policy, and information and decision sciences. Most students complete coursework requirements within three years, after which they plan their dissertation with their advisor.

    NSU is regionally accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

What Are the Goals of a Business Administration Degree?

Learners interested in doctoral degrees in business usually choose between a doctor of business administration, a doctor of business management (DBM), or a Ph.D. in business administration. Generally speaking, DBA and DBM degrees work best for industry leaders, while Ph.D. degrees suit academics and researchers.

DBM programs focus on management of daily operations, while DBA programs examine organization-wide initiatives and decisions. Some DBA programs offer dozens of courses and curriculum specialization in fields such as real estate management, information systems management, nonprofit management, and healthcare management.

Why Get a Business Administration Degree?

As terminal business degrees, doctor of business administration degrees meet or exceed degree requirements for most business careers. Professionals with a DBA often enjoy many personal and professional benefits, including promotions, salary increases, field or industry specialization, and networking opportunities.

Promotion
Many working professionals pursue business administration degrees to advance their careers. A DBA can make recipients more competitive for top executive roles such as president, director, vice president, or CEO.
Salary Increase
PayScale salary data from September 2020 indicates that doctoral degree-holders average $102,320 annually, whereas MBA-holders make about $89,380 annually (as of February 2021).
Specialization
A DBA encourages specialization in particular industries and niche fields. Popular DBA specializations include human resource management, strategic management, international business, and leadership.
Networking Opportunities
Usually composed of high-level professionals, DBA cohorts encourage forging of advantageous professional collaborations and connections. Many doctor of business administration programs also include internship components that support networking.
Leadership Skills
DBA programs prepare graduates for leadership roles in business, education, research, or the nonprofit sector. Enrollees typically take courses such as organizational leadership, which focuses on strategic decision-making.

What Are the Requirements for a Business Administration Degree?

Doctor of business administration programs usually seek applicants with relevant master’s degrees and professional experience. Some programs also require strong GMAT or GRE scores and writing samples. Applicants must typically submit official transcripts, resumes, recommendation letters, and test scores.

To graduate with a DBA, students usually complete 60 credits of core and specialization courses. Many doctor of business administration programs require a dissertation project involving original research. Some DBA programs and dissertation projects include a real-world internship component at an approved site, which may include working students’ current places of employment.

What is Accreditation and Why Does it Matter?

Professional Organizations for Business Administration Students

Doctor of business administration degree students often benefit from joining professional organizations. Typically serving business executives, researchers, and educators, these organizations provide various career resources. Common offerings include educational resources, networking opportunities, professional meetings, and research publications. Student members may benefit from discounted memberships, scholarships, and participation in student chapters.


  • Academy of Management This professional association serves scholars and practitioners in management, organization, and social science-related fields. Founded in 1936, AOM today serves nearly 20,000 members worldwide. This nonprofit professional organization offers an annual meeting, online discussion boards, job postings, and six academic journals.
  • American Business Women's Association This professional organization supports women in business by providing education, leadership opportunities, networking, and advocacy. ABWA features online courses, scholarships, a blog, and job-finding resources. The organization also runs regional conferences that connect women professionals and disseminate new ideas.
  • American Management Association AMA focuses on training and professional certification in various key business skills and fields. Popular course topics include communication, analytics, leadership, and management skills. Students qualify for one year of free e-membership. Student members benefit from member pricing, free lessons from AMA's OnDemand Library, job-readiness webcasts, and various publications.


Scholarships for Business Administration Students

Many schools provide funding for doctoral students in exchange for university teaching or research duties. However, like undergraduate students, doctoral students may also qualify for scholarships based on identity group, academic performance, financial need, or field of study. Scholarships do not require repayment and can help reduce educational expenses. Eligible doctor of business administration degree students should consider applying to scholarships like the two below.

Goldberg-Miller Public Finance Scholarship

Who Can Apply: U.S. or Canadian citizens or permanent residents pursuing careers related to local government finance may apply. Only full-time graduate students qualify. Interested applicants submit career-plan descriptions, official transcripts, recommendation letters, and resumes.

Amount: $20,000


Minorities in Government Finance Scholarship

Who Can Apply: This scholarship supports U.S. or Canadian students seeking local government finance careers. Eligible candidates belong to minority groups and attend business-related programs. Application submissions include a recommendation letter vouching for the applicant’s commitment to the public sector.

Amount: $10,000

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